Belfort – Chalon-sur-Saône
Friday 12th July
Not a lot to say about the route, it’s a bit lumpy at the start and there are a few hills to get over, but nothing too difficult. And with the last 90kms or so almost totally flat, expect a fast bunch finish in Chalon. There are a few tricky bends to negotiate inside the last 3kms, but the last 1.5kms are pretty straight and flat.
This stage should end in a sprint, a hard, long 230kms mostly in to headwind, with limited chances left for sprinters, they won’t let this one slip
If Deceuninck QS do what they did last sprint and Jumbo do what they did in the last sprint, then I can’t understand why Groenewegen is +150 favourite and Viviani is +175. Has Groenewegen recovered enough to justify favouritism? Do you want to take +150 to find out? I don’t.
Their leadout was non-existent in the last sprint stage, with Teunissen and Groenewegen finishing beside each other in 5th and 6th, they made a right mess of it. If Groenewegen is starting to feel better though they will surely improve on that mess and sort out a proper leadout for him. Van Aert is absolutely flying at the moment and together with Tony Martin and Jansen they should be able to form a very powerful leadout for him this time, and if he has the legs he could finish it off.
DQS were brilliant in the last sprint, Alaphilippe helped out with 1km to go, then Morkov and Richeze took over, Richeze showing once again why he is regarded as the best in the business at leadouts. Viviani had more in his locker on stage 4 I believe, I think if anyone had come closer to him he would have kicked again.. But could it be that he tails off a little now he has his elusive TDF stage victory and has got the Giro monkey off his back? I don’t think so.. I think he will want to show them all he’s really the fastest here.
But I also really like Caleb Ewan for this – I said after stage 4 that he is a stage win waiting to happen, he was the fastest in the sprint but was boxed in. This time he needs to just be a bit wiser and go to Viviani’s left, Viviani likes to hog the near side barriers of a sprint, tomorrow it will be the right as the road curves around to the right.
Lotto have a lot of power and are capable of forming a very strong leadout for him, Wellens and De Gendt might be a bit fatigued after today but his main men Roger Kluge and Jasper de Buyst had a day off.
Alexander Kristoff surprised me with his powerful sprint on 4, he showed that he has lost none of his strength or speed, he just couldn’t pip Viviani. He got a great leadout from Jasper Philipsen in the last 300m and went early, barrelling down the middle of the road. His strength and power will be a big advantage again on a long sprint like this one, but I’m not sure he has the speed still to beat the fastest guys here.
Peter Sagan has to be a major contender again, he has the power and most importantly the positioning skills to get himself in to the best positions in order to strike. But he didn’t have the speed in stage 4 to beat the fastest guys, I don’t think that will change tomorrow.
Michael Matthews completely blew it in the sprint and end up 7th after all his team-mates had worked so hard all day for him. Will he be able to lift himself for this sprint tomorrow and be able to challenge? Not against these fast guys I think, they are a level above him at the moment it seems.
Giacomo Nizzolo, Sonny Colbrelli, Matteo Trentin, Christophe Laporte and Andre Greipel will be battling it out for the rest of the top 10 places, Nizzolo will be hoping for a bit more luck in running and for his team to maybe not do all their best work too far from the finish.
I think DQS will boss it again though, but Ewan will run him close and at the prices I’d rather be on Ewan at +550
- 1pt e/w on Caleb Ewan at +550 with Bet365
- Ewan to beat Sagan – 3pts at -120